The most important Mets role-player nobody seems to be talking about

Mar 22, 2022; Port St. Lucie, Florida, USA; New York Mets relief pitcher Trevor Williams (29)
Mar 22, 2022; Port St. Lucie, Florida, USA; New York Mets relief pitcher Trevor Williams (29) / Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

The most important members of the New York Mets roster aren’t much different from any team. The more a guy plays, the more chances he has to make an impact. Everyone in the starting rotation or starting lineup has a shot at regularly contributing to the team’s success or failure.

What about those lesser players? The bench guys. The role-players. Even those who will begin the season in the minor leagues. Aren’t they important, too?

There’s one guy that will be on the Mets Opening Day roster that will play an important role this season. Behind all of the questions about the rotation’s health, doubts about certain members of the starting lineup, and the lack of trustworthy lefties in the bullpen, there’s Trevor Williams.

Trevor Williams is the most important Mets player nobody seems to be talking about

Trevor Williams’ exact role with the Mets should have him pitching most of the season in relief but that’s just the ideal situation. Doubts about the starting rotation’s health could quickly change this plan.

Until he actually joined the Mets, Williams was starting often. The bulk of his 109 starts came as a member of the Pittsburgh Pirates from 2016-2020. Even during his time with the Chicago Cubs last year, Williams only made a single relief appearance. On the Mets, they used him out of the bullpen but also gave him three starts when they were shorthanded in the rotation with some late-season doubleheaders on the schedule.

With Jacob deGrom already for weeks, the Mets will need to dip into their starting pitching depth from the onset of the year. Williams is a quick candidate to transition from the bullpen to starter. However, it might not be for much more than a prolonged opener role.

Somewhat quietly, Williams managed to have a nice stretch with the Mets in 2021. After posting a ridiculously bad 5.06 ERA in 58.2 innings for the Cubs, he joined the Amazins and managed to pitch to a 3.06 ERA in 32.1 innings of work. His three starts weren’t bad either. Each included an appearance in the fifth inning although he only got beyond 4.1 innings once.

The Mets used Williams in the only way that made sense: for length. His final appearance was in the last game of the season when he tossed five relief innings. Having him around to eat up innings in blowout wins or losses can go a long way. It’s especially good in the early part of the year when many of the starters may still be working up their stamina. Two innings from Williams twice a week can translate well and keep other parts of the bullpen a bit more rested.

Are the Mets going to miss the playoffs without Williams around? Certainly not. Are they going to win the championship if he does everything asked of him? No. That’s not how this works.

As minor as the role of a long man out of the bullpen can seem compared to other spots on the roster, Williams may not seem so important. He is, though. And until someone else earns their way into the team’s rotation, expect him to have a fighting chance.

And until everyone is at full strength for the entire 162 game schedule, Williams should be prepared to take on multiple innings early on in the season.

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